Year of Mercy pilgrimage for Sydney teachers

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Staff from Sydney Catholic Schools proceeded through the Holy Doors at St Mary’s Cathedral earlier this month to take up the challenge of Pope Francis, to “go on pilgrimage” to celebrate the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.

The pilgrimage – developed as part of ongoing spiritual development for 23 teachers from Sydney Catholic schools – began at Mary MacKillop Place, taking in Mass at St Patrick’s, Church Hill, before continuing onto the Holy Doors at St Mary’s Cathedral.

The pilgrimage culminated in a visit to the Ozanam Learning Centre at Woolloomooloo.

Annette Britten, a teacher at St Christopher’s primary school, Panania, praised the pilgrimage and described it as “calm and peaceful”.

“The day was one of the best retreats that I have been on,” she said.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the whole day.”

Another participant said the pilgrimage gave her the ability “to open my heart to accepting others with faults and all. Not looking at their faults but the person they are”.

One teacher said the day of walking, “was a great way to reflect on personal thoughts and allowed me to really engage with others”, and gave “a greater understanding of mercy: God’s mercy, parables of mercy and being merciful”.

The final piece of feedback came from a teacher who said the pilgrimage allowed participants “to move more quietly; keep trusting and believing”.

The pilgrimage was the first in a series organised by Sydney Catholic Schools, formerly the Catholic Education Office, during the Year of Mercy.